It is said that London is a bit lost when it comes to street style, incredibility not by the people coming from other countries but by its residents. I heard so many stories about how you can get dressed almost silly or total lowcost-stupid and you will still get people’s attention and get your photo taken. Almost burned myself today to test this out in Paris. I wanted to see what would get the most attention and who would actually come to take me a photo when I was not even going to the show.
About a year ago I was just about to leave London, my flight was on day one of LFW so I decided to go to Somerset House to see everything for the first time, and what would happen if I played myself - wearing the same outfit I would be wearing at the airport. I will tell you how that went, but let’s flash forward to these last two days.
At the moment, I am in Paris. Two things to have in mind here: I have just about 20 invitations to different shows and I have never been in Paris before. If you are not familiar with the PFW schedule, it gets better towards the end of the week. Which is great if you are about to do what I did. I traveled during Day One. Day Two I thought I could walk everywhere, so that’s what I did. It snowed, I had no internet. It was not the finest. Since I had nothing on schedule but an exhibition at the end of the day, I decided to visit the locations of the shows I will be attending later on this week, in order to understand the dynamics and to not feel so lost. (worst sense of orientation).
Today is Day Three of Paris Fashion Week. I woke up early to get a glance of Grand Palais, while Chloe’s show was ongoing. Surprisingly many people arrive late to the shows. So late you would almost think they only came for the street style pictures. After Chloe I went to Carven which was in a completely different location. Not as fancy from the outside. And so much press! Another show I tested was Barbara Bui, after leaving the Tsumori Chisato presentation at Maxim’s. (there were some quite good pieces, but the boots were my favourite) At this time I had a different outfit, one that did not match Barbara Bui’s show. Surprisingly the results were quite interesting.
While in London I was shot at the time with my casual airport look by many people, photographers, and businesses (and made no effort to catch the entrance of a show). In Paris, although you could fill the nearest church coir with all the photographers that were at the entrance (if not the entire church) not as many pictures were taken. The outfits were much more fashion-week appropriate but still, there was less interest. They look you right in the face and some will make sure to look longer (I assume it is either to memorise or in doubt if you are actually relevant). They seem to rather have 200 photos of the same relevant person, than 200 photos of different styles and looks. While in London you either take photos of anything good that you can catch or you go home with almost no photos. You will see the best street style photographers actually running for their lives to get a picture of a relevant person. Somerset House might not have been the best place for the street style photographers.
You could either say that the best Photographers risk traveling to Paris, and the London ones were all newbies, but that is definitely not true. I believe this happens because while in London photographers were not as together as in Paris, which happens to make taking a photo of somewhat a bit more nerve-wracking. If everyone is taking a photo of this person it is good, right? But if no one is interested, it’s probably nobody. So it is not that they are all wiser, they are just following the ones who know better. At Carven, there was so much to walk through to get to the entrance, they were actually more into doing their own thing instead of waiting for the first click.
A good thing to ask here is if the street style is not a bit sold and not to trust since the faces we see the most are now being dressed by the brands. So when you see a street style photo you are almost seeing an editorial. So is it smart for the new photographers to take photos only of the most relevant people? Is style being lost in translation? And what makes a trend today - repetition or influence?
What about relevance, what makes someone relevant? Would just going to the show be enough or would you need to wear Chanel or Hermes? Should the style match the show? Maybe, if you don’t go to a pub in pyjamas, you don’t dress bohemian to Rick Owens. It’s simply way out of the pond.
As someone coming for the first time, I do not advise you to repeat what I did. It can be quite difficult to hold firmly in such situation and to evacuate the area without bringing much attention. (mostly when you’re so distinguishably dressed) I do not intend to repeat these ‘faux entrances’ anymore (or next time I attend a show everyone will ignore me).
Some tips that will work on your favour in Paris:
- Dress classic smart. Look for a long silhouette, a good pair of heels and a nice bag.
- The more labels you can fit into your look, the better.
- Don’t be crazy with hair and makeup. Or in fact, even with your outfit. Think more mature and careless even.
- Don’t look at the camera, or wear sunglasses. This will higher the chances of a good shot of you by 50% or more.
- Coupling up and twinning works better than solo.
- Know where the ‘carpet’ is laid. There’s an area in the street filled with the photographers, don’t take the back entrance, unless you are Leandra Medine.
- You can learn the people in order to understand what is going on, however,
- More than looking careless, is actually not care. There’s things you can’t control, focus in the ones you can.
Hope this has helped, you can follow me around in Paris on snapchat : silveristic and instagram: @miasoarez